They are better known for cheap groceries and bargain beauty buys, but Aldi and Superdrug are about to go up against luxury brands with a range of caviar-laced face creams that sell elsewhere for over £200.
The range of products will feature the latest sought-after ingredients such as caviar and black truffles, which Swiss skincare manufacturers and scientists claim have proven rejuvenating powers for mature skin.
Fast-growing supermarket chain Aldi will kick things off with the launch of a new line in its Lacura range, which will contain extract of caviar. It will include a day cream, at £6.99 for a 50ml pot and bears a remarkable resemblance to a similar cream from Swiss brand La Prairie, which costs an eye-watering £292.
In a week’s time Superdrug will go up against Aldi by launching a day and night cream, both containing black truffle. The same ingredient pops up in Estée Lauder’s Re-Nutriv Ultimate Diamond Transformative Energy Creme – which costs a whopping £255, but Superdrug’s offering will be a much more palatable £14.99.
The moves are the latest by the discounters to tap into the luxury market, where they have notched up huge success in food and wine, pinching middle class customers from rattled high street rivals. Last year Aldi and German rival Lidl ramped up their Christmas offerings with luxuries such as lobster, crab, and serrano and ibérico ham as they battled for shoppers’ custom with bargain-basement prices.
Lidl has previously come up trumps in the beauty market. Last year it launched a battery operated facial cleansing and exfoliating brush for £9.99, which drew favourable comparisons to the £155 Clarisonic from upmarket brand Clarins.
The Lidl offering sold out nationally in a week. Aldi launched the Lacura caviar range in Australia last November and after success there has brought it to the UK. “We are keen to continue introducing exciting ingredients and premium lines at affordable prices to meet the ongoing demands of health and beauty consumers so it will be interesting to see what the public think,” said a spokesperson.
Its fastest-selling special buy to date was the Lacura Wrinkle Stop, containing snake venom (syn-ake) which sold out within days in 2009.
Anusha Couttigane, a retail analyst with consulting firm Conlumino, said: “It is interesting to see Aldi is taking another step towards establishing a competitive non-food offer. As with all things, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. Premium skincare is a huge industry, especially when you get into specialist products like anti-ageing creams.”
But she said the luxury brands had nothing to fear, and that “consumers who can afford to spend over £200 on creams are unlikely to be tempted by the new budget ranges”.
She said instead it was “middle market chains” such as Tesco and Boots that will be under pressure to respond. The German discounters, which have stolen a march on their mid-market rivals, are becomingly increasingly keen to shake off their discount image.
Last month it emerged that Lidl was looking at more than 300 locations for new stores in central London, a move that would put it in the heartland of Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsburys.
Aldi also announced in September that it is to open a new front in its assault on the UK grocery market early next year when it begins selling wine online.
- This article was amended on 5 October 2015 to correct the spelling of Anusha Couttigane’s name.